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Tiffany Albright watched a young man throw back his head and howl at the moon before he joined a triumvirate of fraternity boys, proudly brandishing their Greek letters and plastic cups of green beer.
She hooked her right arm through Susie Dolinger's left and sighed with pure delight.
"Visiting you the week of the St. Patrick's Day festival is the best thing I've done in a long time," Tiffany said.
Susie dodged a couple who'd stopped ahead of them to share a passionate kiss and frowned, which wasn't one of her typical expressions. With her blond curls, dimples and sunny disposition, she usually reminded Tiffany of a grown-up Shirley Temple.
"I don't know about that, Tiffany, honey. When I said you should come to Savannah, I surely didn't mean now. I'll be too busy this weekend to spend much time with you and besides ..."
Her voice trailed off and Tiffany shot her a curious glance. Susie, who'd been her best friend in high school until the State Department had moved her father and the rest of the family to Australia, had returned to her native Savannah three years ago. In that time, she'd invited Tiffany to visit no less than a dozen times.
"Besides what?" Tiffany asked.
Susie sighed. "I thought you'd like the sleepy Savannah." She gestured at the crowd around them with a sweeping hand. "Not this one."
Made up of the cobblestones that were once the ballast stones in sailing ships, historic River Street boasted restaurants, pubs, hotels and tourist shops housed in the cotton warehouses and offices of the 1800s. A collection of small parks and sitting areas across the street provided up-close views of the Savannah River and the huge ships that continually went to and from the port.
Susie said the street was never quiet. It was Thursday night, a full twenty-four hours before the festival weekend would really get rolling, but the crowd was already nearly large enough to rival the one at Times Square before the ball dropped.
"What's wrong with this Savannah?" Tiffany asked as two men in their twenties with their arms flung around each other's necks walked by singing a rousing rendition of "When Irish Eyes are Smiling."
"Not a darn thing. I work for the Bureau of Tourism, remember? But I can't help thinking you'd prefer the other Savannah."
The sleepy, Southern, boring one.
"And why's that?" Tiffany tried to keep her voice light. She really did.
Susie squeezed her arm. "Don't go getting offended on me. It was a compliment. I only meant the city goes wild this weekend and you're so ... conservative."
"I am not!"
"You're the daughter of an old-fashioned Iowa politician who's been in Congress for more than twenty years."
"That only proves my father is conservative, not that I am."
"You live in Washington, D.C., work on the Hill as a lobbyist and go to $1,000-a-plate dinners. If you're not conservative, then I don't know an azalea from a magnolia."
Tiffany unhooked her elbow from Susie's and folded her arms across her chest as she walked. It hurt that Susie, of all people, saw her that way. Hadn't Susie realized while they were attending the exclusive D.C. private school together that Tiffany had gravitated toward her precisely because she livened up the atmosphere?
"Did it ever occur to you that I might be tired of that kind of life?" Tiffany asked. "That I might be ready to let loose and go wild?"
A preteen whose parents were nowhere in sight blew into a plastic horn as he passed them. Tiffany jumped at the noise, barely refraining from squealing.
Susie laughed. "No."
"Just because I react normally to sudden sounds -"
"It's not that. It's everything else," Susie interrupted. "Why, it's even the way you're dressed."
"I'm dressed in green!"
"Do you really think a wild woman dresses in an emerald-green designer pantsuit tailored expressly for her?"
"I have problems getting clothes off the rack that fit," Tiffany said defensively. "I happen to be five foot ten."
"Is that a conservative estimate or your true height?" Susie asked.
Tiffany started to take affront but then her friend laughed and the outrage drained out of her. She laughed too and hooked her arm once again through Susie's.
"Okay, okay. I may not be Ms. Nonconformity but I was going to do something drastic if I didn't get out of D.C."
"Like what? Tell somebody you didn't like his tie?"
"I was thinking more along the lines of squeezing really hard the next time a politician shook my hand and gave me an empty smile. Or dumping my drink on any attorney who made a self-serving comment. But then my hand would be sore from all the squeezing and I'd be exhausted from going to the bar to get my drink refilled."
"It can't be that bad."
Tiffany lifted her face to the soft breeze, which felt wonderful after the day's heat even if it did carry the faint scent of beer. Although only March, the temperature had reached eighty-five earlier that day and had yet to dip below seventy.
"Lately, it has been that bad. I feel so ... trapped. My mother's taken to trying to match me up with every Starched Suit in town."
Susie scrunched up her small, pert nose. "Isn't the usual expression Stuffed Shirt?"
"Starched Suit fits these guys better. Most of them wouldn't take off their jackets during a heat wave in hell. Talk about boring, they could put a hummingbird on caffeine to sleep."
"What I need is somebody like your Kyle," Tiffany said. "Somebody who doesn't fit the suit-and-tie mold. I mean, Kyle's a freelance photographer. How cool is that?"
"Very cool," Susie said.
"I wouldn't need him for long," Tiffany said, letting her fantasy take hold. "Just for the weekend."
"Sorry to break this to you, honey." Susie's voice was mild but her eyes had grown wide and horrified. "But Kyle's taken."
"I wasn't talking about Kyle specifically, silly," Tiffany said, batting lightly at her arm and laughing. "He's completely taken with you, as well he should be. I was talking about some anonymous good-time guy I could spend the weekend with."
"Please tell me you don't mean sexually," Susie said, still wearing that look of dismay.
Excerpted from One Hot Chance by Darlene Gardner Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted May 12, 2003
When their divorced parents remarry one another, sisters MacKenzie and Sabrina Bliss react differently. Mackenzie feels this will last forever while the cynical Bliss expects a second divorce within six months. The siblings agree to 'change' lives. Mackenzie must drop 'Mr. Dull' to seek exciting romance and quit her secure job to begin her dream of her own candy business. Sabrina must settle in one city with one job with no sex for one year except if she falls in love.<P> Six weeks later, Sabrina has become a chocolate addict convinced that the rush is as good as that from sex. However, working as a lunch manager at the same place as Dessert Chef Kit Rex has caused Sabrina to geometrically increase her intake of chocolate. Kit wants Sabrina and decides the way to her heart is sinfully through sweets as every time he sees her she grabs chocolate.<P> Fans will find sweet pleasure with this amusing sugary yet sexy romance. The story line is played for fun as Sabrina struggles with her desires for Kit who concocts a plan to make him her diet substitute. Readers will enjoy this tale and look forward to Mackenzie's story due next month.<P> Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
One Hot Chance Darlene Gardner Harlequin Temptation, May 2003, $4.25, 218 pp. ISBN: 0373691262<P> DC lobbyist Tiffany Albright is tired of the Washington scene with the phony smiles that never touch one face so when her long time friend Susie Dolinger invites her to spend a week during the St. Patrick's Day festivities in Savannah she flees for the south. The Iowa native figures she has earned some fun in the sun hopefully with a hunk with no power ties or even a suit.<P> Former Atlanta now DC lawyer Chance McMann thinks his trip to Savannah cannot get any worse since the airline lost his luggage, and his car and hotel rentals are nonexistent. That is until he seeks some clothing for the weekend. Being a large, he is forced to buy a T-shirt that says 'Irish Would You Kiss Me'. Chance and Tiffany meet and hit it off, but he realizes she thinks he is local yokel and not a DC attorney. Tiffany wants a fling, but Chance desires much more.<P> Though readers will understand Tiffany's frustrations, she comes across at times out of character. Susie recognizes that the conservative daughter of a Congressman from Iowa does not seek hunks even on vacation so that her needs seem off kilter. On the other hand the lead male is the type of intelligent caring bod that women will gladly take a chance on, starched suit or inane T-shirt. Together they make a heated yet amusing tale that the audience will appreciate.<P> Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.